If you are a December baby, then you are spoilt for choice for birthstones! In most modern lists you will find Zircon, Tanzanite and Turquoise listed as December birthstones. And whilst we will touch on the other two here, it is the Turquoise stone that wins our prize as the most time honoured and beautiful semi-precious gemstone.
Turquoise gemstone properties: it is said to be a protective stone, amongst others.
Zircon stone is best known as a colourless stone, which can be used for imitation diamonds through the name of “Matura diamond” however, it actually occurs naturally in a wide variety of shades including yellows, reds, greens and blues.
It has a high refractive index, so sparkles like a diamond, but it is considerably more common in nature and less hard – 7.5 in Mohs scale. The abundance however is usually in smaller sized varieties, it is unusual to find clean stones larger than 10 carats. Also, make sure you don’t confuse natural Zircon with the artificial gem Cubic Zirconia. Cubic Zirconia is one of the best-known man-made Diamond simulants and is, of course, a more affordable lab-created gemstone.
Moving on to a much more recent discovery, the Tanzanite stone is a blue-to-violet transparent variety of Zoisite. It was first discovered in 1967, in (you guessed it) Tanzania. The name was actually coined by Tiffany & Co, who wanted to market the newly found stone by referencing the unique location it is found. The gem has never been mined outside of Tanzania, and can be found in some dizzying sizes. The world’s largest rough Tanzanite was a 16,839 carat, or 3.38Kg stone found in 2005.
The Mawenzi Tanzanite: The world's largest Tanzanite ever found. Source: TanzaniteOne ltd.
As with all gemstone jewellery, care needs to be taken when wearing Tanzanite, as it is a naturally brittle stone. Knowing the properties of the natural stones in your jewellery can always assist you with knowing how to look after it.
Moving on to arguably the star of the show this month (in our view!), Turquoise. Its name comes from French, with Turquoise meaning “Turkish” in that language, and it is a reference to the path of the first of these stones that made their way to Europe. They would have originally come from Persian mines, in modern day Iran. Nowadays, most Turquoise comes from mines in China, however the United states also produces some excellent specimens in the states surrounding Arizona. This semi-precious stone is also considered sacred to the indigenous Zuni and Pueblo people of the American Southwest.
Unlike the previous two stones, Turquoise is opaque and its colour always demonstrates blue to green tones. This decorative stone has been known to humans for thousands of years, with references in writings from Pliny the Elder, and artefacts containing it found in the tombs of the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt such as in the iconic mask of Tutankhamun.
The Turquoise blue colour is caused by the presence of copper in the blue stone’s composition, while Iron or Zinc are found in Turquoise green specimens. Its unique shade lends its name to all things of this tranquil hue. It is often veined with black or brown limonite lines, and when these are heavily present the stones are called ‘Spiderweb Turquoise’.
Isla - Sterling silver and Turquoise earrings
Turquoise stone jewellery needs to be treated with care. Its hardness is only slightly higher than window glass, and it is also sensitive to light, soap and water. That means that whilst this natural gemstone is beautiful to wear, it is important to follow our jewellery care advice to keep it looking its best for longer.
Amongst the Turquoise stone meaning and properties, it is said to promote self-realisation, stimulate romantic love and assist with creative problem solving. It is also considered a protective stone and a symbol of friendship.
Atlantis: Lapis lazuli and Turquoise stone necklace
Whichever stone you choose, December birthstones always make great gifts ideas for your loved ones. Natural stone jewellery can make anyone feel special, as they make the perfect, Christmas gifts that are as exclusive and unique as they are.
If you are looking for handmade gift ideas, check out our Turquoise jewellery collection.